Photo by Rena Laverty
MUSKEGON, Mich. – Logan Hensler (Woodbury, Minn.) extended his goal streak to three games while Max Plante (Hermantown, Minn.) led the team with two assists as the U.S. National Under-17 Team fell to the Lumberjacks, 7-4, Friday night inside Trinity Health Arena.
The Lumberjacks jumped ahead to an early lead while on the power play after Ethan Whitcomb cleaned up a loose puck in front, 3:01 in. Muskegon tallied another, 1:45 later, to increase their lead to a pair as Michael Callow redirected a shot that was sent to the top of the net.
Team USA wouldn't go into the locker room scoreless, however, as Hensler netted his third in as many games, on the power play, with :54 left to go. A battle for the puck behind the Lumberjacks net made its way to the stick of Plante who pushed it to Hensler at the blue line. Hensler sent one through traffic which Muskegon's starting netminder Raythan Robbins couldn't track for the goal.
The U.S. tied the game up in the opening of the second as Christian Humphreys (Pittsburgh, Pa.) netted his 18th of the year. Hensler made a neutral-zone interception and sent it to Humphreys up ice. An initial shot pin-balled off multiple Lumberjacks before Austin Burnevik (Blaine, Minn.) stretched out to make a backhand to Humphreys. With an open net to work with, he fired one through to tie the game up.
Tick-tack-toe passing was well executed by the U.S. to march back from their deficit and gain the lead after Kamil Bednarik (Elmhurst, Ill.) potted the team's third. Will Skahan (Woodbury, Minn.) pushed the puck to Plante who quickly found Bednarik for the goal 1:40 into the second.
Muskegon answered back minutes later to tie the game with Whitcomb's second of the game. Muskegon's Nicholas Rexine added his ninth goal of the year to regain the lead for the Lumberjacks in the middle frame.
Team USA made it a stalemate once again near the halfway mark as John Whipple (Minnetonka, Minn.) raced towards a puck that trickled towards the offensive zone. He picked it up and was all alone and snapped a shot passed Robbins. Muskegon answered with a pair though in the final five minutes of action to give themselves a 6-4 lead after 40.
Muskegon tallied once more in the third for the final goal of the game as the U17s fell, 7-4.
Nick Kempf (Morton Grove, Ill.) started in net for Team USA and stopped seven shots in 36:09 minutes in net. Jack Parsons (Cortland, N.Y.) played the remainder of the contest and stopped 10 shots.
The Under-17 Team will finish out their away series tomorrow against the Lumberjacks at 7:00 p.m. ET. Tomorrow’s game can be streamed on FloHockeyTV.